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Restricting Soda Size May, Gulp, Actually Increase Consumption

Businesses have strong incentive to offer soda bundles when drink size is limited, study finds

THURSDAY, April 11 (HealthDay News) -- Restriction of larger-size sodas, which encourages conversion into bundles of smaller-sized sodas, may increase soda consumption, according to a study published online April 10 in PLOS ONE.

Brent M. Wilson, from the University of California San Diego in La Jolla, and colleagues conducted a behavioral stimulation to examine whether a sugary drink limit would be effective if larger-sized drinks were converted into smaller sizes. Participants were offered varying food and drink menus, with no limitation on drink size: one menu listed 16-, 24-, and 32-ounce drinks for sale; one had 16-ounce drinks, a bundle of two 12-ounce drinks, and a bundle of two 16-ounce drinks; and the third only offered 16-ounce drinks.

The researchers found that, with bundles of drinks, participants bought significantly more ounces of soda than with varying-sized drinks. In addition, with bundles, the total business revenue was higher compared with the menu which only offered small-sized drinks.

"Our research suggests that businesses have a strong incentive to offer bundles of soda when drink size is limited," the authors write. "Restricting larger-sized drinks may have the unintended consequence of increasing soda consumption rather than decreasing it."

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